Who We Are

Mari Brennan Barrera, Senior Advisor

Mari Brennan is a Senior Advisor with more than 25 years of experience developing grantmaking programs, creating and implementing strategic plans, conducting issue and landscape analyses, and designing staffing and operational structures for a wide range of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations committed to social change. She is known for adeptly guiding boards in examining foundations’ philanthropic priorities and values and in surfacing other planning topics, such as succession, family engagement, and staffing structure.

She has served in executive-level staff and advisory positions for several Boston family foundations, where she developed major initiatives on childhood hunger, affordable housing, and social change leadership.

As a consultant, Mari designed, implemented, and disseminated lessons learned from ARTWorks for Kids, a decade-long grant and advocacy program initiated by Ambassador Swanee Hunt’s family foundation. At the request of an anonymous donor, Mari created the infrastructure and operational systems for a new $70 million family foundation and collaborated with the founder of a philanthropic start-up to expand support for mental health services for college students of color. She currently advises foundation trustees on several priority issue areas, helping them identify promising organizations for their grant investments.

Mari has a BA in Political Science from the University of Connecticut and an advanced diploma in French studies from the Université de Rouen in France.